A law-enforcement agency said on Thursday that it will press criminal charges against three officials arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of arranging illegal adoptions of Armenian children by foreigners.
The arrested officials are the head of Armenia’s largest maternity hospital, Razmik Abrahamian, his deputy Arshak Jerjerian and the director of a Yerevan-based state orphanage, Liana Karapetian. They are suspected of having forced young women to abandon their babies who were adopted by foreign nationals in 2016-2018. The latter allegedly paid hefty bribes for those adoptions.
The Investigative Committee also arrested later on Wednesday another person as part of the extensive criminal investigation launched by Armenia’s National Security Service this summer. That person has not yet been identified.
The Investigative Committee chief, Hayk Grigorian, said all arrested officials will be formally charged by the end of this week with illegal separation of parents from their newborn babies. “We have testimonies by a number of persons which unmask the crimes committed by those [arrested] individuals,” Grigorian said during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
Pashinian said that he had ordered the NSS and the Armenian police to look into the matter after hearing allegations about serious abuses committed during child adoptions in Armenia. He said he was initially skeptical about the veracity of the allegations.
“But now, in retrospect, maybe our evaluations were not correct, maybe the emotions of those people [who alleged the abuses] were based on concrete facts,” Pashinian told ministers and other officials. “All these cases must be investigated one by one.”